The 5 Best Sauté Pans on the Market
Having a good sauté pan is critical to a well rounded kitchen. These large, high walled pans are fantastic for searing proteins, and even better for reducing sauces and broths. And many of these pans can easily go from stovetop to oven, making them total work horses of the kitchen. Whether you regularly cook with a sauté pan or are just curious, there is something here for you. Here are the five best sauté pans on the market.
High End Pick
My pick for the all around, absolute best sauté pan.
My pick for the best sauté pan under $40.
My pick for the best value for your money.
Putting it through its paces and feeling the heft, it’s hard to believe that the Cooks Standard Classic Stainless Steel isn’t a $100 pan.
I really love this sauté pan. Putting it through its paces on the stovetop, and feeling its heft, it’s hard to believe that this isn’t a $100 pan - it’s not.
First, the sheer quality and craftsmanship of the Cooks Standard Classic Stainless Steel is unsurpassed, not only by other items in this price range, but pretty much by anything else on the market. It’s made from high gauge, 18/10 stainless steel inside and out, making the pan both visually pleasing - it easily matches that brushed stainless steel kitchen aesthetic - and easy to clean.
But the Cooks Standard is not just stainless steel. At the base, the pan is actually constructed from three layers, stainless steel on the outside, with an aluminum core interior. The aluminum core at the base is an excellent medium for rapid and even heat distribution. This kind of construction is standard on most well made stainless steel pans.
The materials used also make the Cooks Standard sauté pan induction stove compatible, and obviously, it will work well on gas and electric stovetops as well. The all metal design also makes this sauté pan oven and dishwasher safe, though I would really recommend against putting it in the dishwasher - any pan like this should be hand-wash only.
I also really like the size of this pan - it’s 11 inches across, with side walls of about three inches. Coupled with a solid, stainless steel lid, the Cooks Standard is extremely versatile. Use it to sauté, or even boil, steam or fry.
If you have difficulty with weighty items, however, this pan may be challenging. Given its solid construction, it is quite hefty. That said, it’s also got a stay cool helper handle positioned opposite to the regular handle for added stability.
All in all, I absolutely love this pan, and think given the ratio of quality to price, that it’s just a no brainer.
The Ozeri Stone Earth Sauté Pan is our top choice for eco-friendly cookware guaranteed to keep chemicals far from your food.
The Ozeri Stone Earth Sauté Pan is really the top choice for consumers that are looking for an eco-friendly option that is both non-stick and free of any chemical additives. Ozeri uses a stone-derived coating from Germany that is - wait for it - APEO, GenX, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, NMP and NEP free.
Admittedly, I’ve never heard of most of those chemicals, but that said, it still feels quite reassuring that the non-stick coating is guaranteed to keep your food safe. Plus, the non-stick coating actually works quite well, and I really like the textured stone design on the cooking surface.
The Ozeri Stone Earth is also quite large, with a five liter cooking capacity, and it comes with a tempered glass lid. I like glass lids a lot because they allow me to see my food while it’s cooking. The lid also has a conveniently placed steam-release vent.
The handles - three of them, being the primary handle, the helper handle, and the lid handle, are all made from a comfortable, ergonomic silicone, though the material here also means that this pan is not oven safe. It’s a trade off here - if you need an oven safe pan you’ll need a different kind of handle, but solid metal handles just aren’t as comfortable.
The magnetized base allows for rapid heat distribution, and the pan is also induction stove compatible - as well as working, of course, on all gas and electric stovetops. The only downside is that while the base seems to distribute heat quickly and evenly, it doesn’t really hold the heat that well. Take this off the heat and it will cool down rather quickly.
All in all the Ozeri Stone Earth Sauté Pan is solid and efficient, especially for the price. It’s great for multitasking, and most importantly, it’s the top choice if you’re looking to maintain a chemical free kitchen.
This 11 inch sauté pan from Eslite Life is super functional and super affordable, and it looks pretty cool too.
This large, 11 inch non-stick sauté pan from Eslite Life is both aesthetically stunning and sturdy. I really like how this thing looks, but of course, wouldn’t recommend a pan for that reason alone. In addition to hitting aesthetic marks, the Eslite Life sauté pan exceeds expectations when it comes to quality of design and functionality.
The pan’s construction actually deserves quite a bit of discussion. The base of the pan - the most important component as far as materials are concerned - is made from three layers of die cast aluminum that conduct and accumulate heat.
On the sides, and around the aluminum alloy body, we have on the interior a scratch-resistant mineral layer and a non-stick layer, and on the outside, a reinforced mineral layer and a high temperature outer shell. All told, these layers come together to create a pan that is not only sturdy, but also slick and easy to clean.
Eslite Life also includes a large, tempered glass lid, with a steam vent. There are some occasions when I have really come to prefer glass lids as well, since they allow you to watch your food while it cooks. This is much better than lifting off an opaque lid, only to also release precious heat and steam.
Now, let’s talk about the handle. While it looks really cool, with an aesthetically pleasing wood finish, it’s actually synthetic. And although this isn’t terrible - lots of handles are made from this variety of bakelite - it does mean that you can’t put the pan in the oven.
The other small inconvenience is that after you buy the pan you’ll have to attach the handle yourself. This is pretty simple, as it comes with the proper sized screw - so easy a child could do it - but a little annoying. Usually, when I pay for a product I want it to arrive ready to use.
But that said, you won’t be paying top dollar for this pan, and that’s the major upside. It’s very affordable, and aside from a few, very minor inconveniences, I’d say it’s a great item to have in your kitchen.
Calphalon’s Premier Series takes cookware to the next level, making this my pick for the absolute best sauté pan on the market.
When you buy a Calphalon pan, you know you’re getting quality. Perhaps the most recognizable name on this list, the Calphalon brand really is deserving of its title as one of the best pan makers out there. And their Premier Series cookware take things to the next level.
From a distance, this sauté pan looks a lot like other stainless steel sauté pans, but trust me, once you handle this pan, you’ll feel the difference. It’s made from heavy gauge materials and is very sturdy - be forewarned, this pan has some heft to it.
The construction is pretty standard for stainless steel cookware. It’s three ply construction, two layers of stainless steel sandwiching a thick aluminum core. The aluminum core is critical to quick and even heat distribution and retention, and the pan works well on induction, gas and electric stovetops without a problem.
I also really like that the stainless steel is brushed, rather than polished - there is a sophistication to it, and the finish also resists fingerprints. The long handle is also brushed steel, as is the helper handle, and both stay cool to the touch even at the highest temperature settings.
Although the lid looks like metal from certain angles, it’s actually tempered glass. The lid has a slight curve to it, but otherwise remains flat, which in my opinion looks a lot better. The flat lid also prevents condensation from dripping down the sides into your food.
The metal handles mean you can go straight from stovetop to oven, which is super convenient, but I’d avoid putting this sauté pan in the dishwasher. Calphalon does claim that their pans can go in the dishwasher, but I’d still recommend hand washing only.
Finally, if all of the features aren’t enough to convince you, the lifetime warranty should. Although it’s a bit expensive, this Calphalon Premier Series pan is of the highest quality, and without a doubt ranks as the best sauté pan on the market.
This is a fantastic, all stainless steel sauté pan with a few smart design features to improve your cooking experience.
I really, really like this five quart, stainless steel sauté pan from Goodful. It has a lot of the same high quality features of other top shelf sauté pans, and a few extra details that really put it over the top.
In terms of what you might expect from a top shelf stainless steel pan, the Goodful sauté pan has it all. It’s made from premium quality, 304 grade stainless steel, which is known for durability, appearance and resistance to corrosion. The stainless steel is polished rather than brushed, which is only important to note if you have a particular aesthetic preference.
The pan is constructed from three layers of metal for quick heating and perfect heat distribution. The metal construction also makes the pan oven and dishwasher safe, though, as always, I recommend hand washing these kinds of items.
The stainless steel handles - both the primary and helper handles - are riveted for strength, and both stay cool to the touch. The helper handle is absolutely necessary, given this pan’s heft, and you’ll definitely need it for stability if you want to safely move a pan full of food.
Alright, now a few extras. I really like that the interior of this pan has some measure marks (indicating 2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 quarts, and their conversion to cups) for convenience and accurate cooking. It’s a really small detail, but such a smart design feature.
I also really like that the lid is stainless steel. I know that I often advocate tempered glass when it comes to lids, but I think it’s also important to have at least one lid in your kitchen that’s made of stainless steel, that you can feel free to move it around quickly on the stovetop without the risk of it breaking.
Although the pan has relatively thin walls, it’s still got more than enough heft to it to do a more than satisfactory job with any recipe you might try. And if that’s not enough for you, Goodful offers a limited lifetime warranty - so buy with confidence!
First off, it’s important to recognize the difference between a sauté pan and a skillet, or fry pan. While frying skillets generally have curved or sloping edges, the thing that really defines a sauté pan is its straight, vertical walls, which are usually anywhere from two to three inches tall.
The difference here relates almost entirely to function, since both skillets and sauté pans can be constructed from a variety of materials. Sauté pans are fantastic for searing meats, and also for reducing broths and sauces. The high walls are great for holding large quantities of food without risking a spill.
So, with an idea of what sauté pans are for, the next question is, what kind should I get? There are really two options here - traditional non-stick, or stainless steel.
Non-stick sauté pans are much like any other non-stick pan, in which a special but fragile layer of non-stick material coats the cooking surface. This can often be very convenient, but it has some serious limitations, especially when it comes to searing and getting a good maillard crust on proteins.
Now, a lot of people complain that stainless steel pans are difficult to use, and that they often end up with food that sticks. And it’s true, stainless steel can be tricky. It’s really easy to ruin a dish in a stainless steel pan because you’re not using the right technique.
This is because you can’t treat a stainless steel pan like a normal non-stick. There are actually a few things that you can do to make the most out of your stainless steel cookware, which will also prevent sticking.
First, when using stainless steel you have to heat the pan before adding anything to it. And I mean, get it hot. But unfortunately, this means that cooking at low temperature on a stainless steel pan gets a bit complicated.
So, at the end of the day, my biggest advice in selecting the right sauté pan for you - and deciding between non-stick and stainless steel - will be your comfort with these two, very different cooking techniques. Do you feel comfortable with stainless steel? Do you like to cook on high heat? Low heat?
I’ve tried to create this list so that, regardless of your answers to these questions, you’ll be able to find the right sauté pan for you. Whether you want a non-stick or stainless steel pan, there are some absolute bangers on this list. Happy cooking!
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